Ahead of Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign stressed that while they’re not conceding ground in the Granite State, the real game in their view comes into view when more diverse states start to have their say.
“The path to the nomination for Joe Biden runs through South Carolina, Nevada, and Super Tuesday,” senior campaign adviser Kate Bedingfield told reporters on Monday.
“This is Game 2, and we’re going all the way to Game 7,” she said. “He’s been very clear he’s the underdog here.”
She dismissed the possibility that Biden might drop out before the next rounds of voting and said the last week was their second-best week of online fundraising since the campaign launched – but declined to give a number, unlike other campaigns that have made similar boasts and put out more specific figures.
The Biden campaign hasn't been subtle about the need to keep African-American voters on board for the former vice president. Symone Sanders, a very prominent Biden adviser who is African American, is in South Carolina this week to meet with voters and African-American leaders, Bedingfield said.
Biden himself is going to be there soon.
“When he goes to South Carolina, he’s going to create momentum just by going there,” said former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Biden surrogate and supporters.
African American voters are critical to gaining traction--the largely Democratic voting base is expected to make up 12.5% of the electorate in 2020, according to Pew Research Center. In South Carolina, the first primary state in the South, blacks make up nearly 30% of the population and more than 60 percent of the primary electorate.
By comparison, New Hampshire is more than 90% white.
The Biden campaign released a video on Twitter taking jabs at former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg's mayoral career. The ad highlighted the demotion and firing of South Bend's police Chief Darryl Boykins and South Bend's fire Chief Howard Buchanon, who are both are African American.
Biden told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, "I'm saying he hasn't been able to unify the black community -- that's what I'm saying," while highlighting his endorsements from several South Bend black legislators.
Buttigieg has maintained that he demoted the city's police chief to the rank of captain, because of the chief's failure to inform him that the department was under federal investigation amid reports that Boykins allegedly had ordered people to secretly record racist comments by senior white police officers.
Meanwhile, though Biden himself has bemoaned his own organization’s shortcomings in Iowa, Lynch said he hasn’t seen anything different on the ground in New Hampshire as a result.
“I haven’t seen out in the field any particular adjustment that the campaign made as a result of Iowa,” he said.